Safina, Schnyder advance in Toronto

Number 10 Patty Schnyder got off to a strong start in her first Rogers Cup appearance in five years, dispatching Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-2.

updated: August 15, 2007 16:45 IST
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Number 10 Patty Schnyder got off to a strong start in her first Rogers Cup appearance in five years, dispatching Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-2.

Schnyder, from Switzerland, broke Medina Garrigues five times at the Rexall Centre at York University but said the match wasn't as routine as the score might indicate.

"I would never take matches as routine, because you always have to be aware of the opponent's weapons," Schnyder said.

"I just went through nicely, like the court tells me. But yes, I had to stay focused, and handle the conditions, and it was not easy."

In a tournament once again hit hard by withdrawals, and with several of the so-called healthy players here battling a bug that's been going around, Schnyder felt happy just to be playing.

All six seeds in action on the opening day won.

Dinara Safina rallied from 4-1 and two breaks down to beat Camille Pin 7-6 (9), 3-6, 7-5 in a Rogers Cup first-round match on Monday.

Ninth-seeded Safina took nearly two hours, 40 minutes in a blustery, chilly evening to overcome the French qualifier, who looked set to beat the Russian for the first time in four matches, all this year.

Peer moves ahead

Other players advancing on Monday included 11th-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel, 12th-seeded Tatiana Golovin of France, 14th-seeded Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, and 16th-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.

Peer was relieved to edge Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 7-5, 7-6 (7).

"I think I was just not playing," Peer said. "It's not that (Krajicek) was playing good, and probably she was feeling the same. It's just that I made so many mistakes I didn't get to the ball proper, and I was just not in the match.

Four Italians moved on with Francesca Schiavone defeating Austria's Tamira Paszek 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, Roberta Vinci cruising past Spain's Nuria Llagosteria Vives 6-0, 6-0, Tathiana Garbin beating American Laura Granville 6-2, 6-0, and Flavia Pennetta ousting Olga Poutchkova of Russia 6-3, 7-5.

China's Peng Shuai defeated Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki 6-0, 6-7 (4), 6-2, and China's Yan Zi defeated France's Severine Bremond 6-4, 6-0.

The top eight singles seeds, led by top-ranked Justine Henin, had a bye into the second round.

Serena injured

The Rogers Cup has once again been hit hard by withdrawals, with five of the game's biggest stars bowing out. American Serena Williams is battling a thumb injury, while sister Venus has tendinitis in her right knee.

Martina Hingis of Switzerland is nursing back and hip problems, while France's Amelie Mauresmo is recovering from appendicitis.

Maria Sharapova, the world's number 2 player, pulled out on Saturday after advancing to the semifinal of a WTA event in Los Angeles.

"It's tough to keep all the players healthy and have everyone," Henin said.

"It's just a few weeks before the US Open and everybody doesn't want to be injured now, and so they probably try to be safe about the next Grand Slam."

World number 3 Jelena Jankovic and number 6 Anna Chakvetadze, along with Argentina's Gisela Dulko are all battling a bug that was making the rounds at recent tournaments in San Diego and Los Angeles.